Dexter Blackstock urged Leeds United’s squad to believe that they are on the right track, despite admitting to mixed emotions after his goalscoring debut ended in defeat.
The on-loan Nottingham Forest striker claimed United were climbing a learning curve after a late Jon Stead strike condemned his new club to a 3-2 loss at Huddersfield Town on Saturday. Blackstock made a remarkable impact at the John Smith’s Stadium, stepping off the bench to find the net with his first touch and level a tight derby at 2-2 in the 72nd minute.
Leeds were picked off four minutes later as Stead settled the contest from close range but Blackstock refused to be despondent – and claimed the success of United’s season would rest on their form at Elland Road.
“If you score two goals away from home, nine times out of 10 you get a point,” Blackstock said.
“We came away with nothing and it’s a bitter pill to swallow but there were some good performances in a new formation. It’ll take time to bed in and it’s part of the learning curve. I’m looking forward to playing in home games and that’s where we’ve really got to pick up points. We’ve got to turn Elland Road into a fortress.”
Blackstock took his goal with a sharp header from Alex Mowatt’s free-kick, pulling Leeds back into the game after Danny Ward’s finish and a Tom Lees own goal negated Matt Smith’s strike after just 70 seconds.
“The goal was instinct,” Blackstock said. “When the free-kick was awarded I knew the gaffer was planning to put me on. Thankfully I was in the right place to get a goal – one of the quickest goals you can score on a debut. The goal is massive for me. When you go to a new club, you want to get off the mark. More importantly, it got us back into the game but unfortunately it counted for nothing. It’s one of those things we’ll learn from.”
Blackstock also bemoaned the failure of referee Neil Swarbrick to award Leeds an injury-time penalty after the striker was bundled to the ground by Stead.
“I got in front of (Stead) and he basically ran me over,” Blackstock said. “If that had been on the halfway line, he would have given a definite free-kick. I said to the ref ‘why was that any different and why wasn’t it a penalty?’”